Walmart is continuing its search for 'Made in the USA' products, and on August 14, the giant retailer held a U.S. Manufacturing Summit in Denver, CO. Walmart executives, industry experts, suppliers, and component manufacturers gathered for two days to discuss Walmart's commitment to spending an additional $50 billion on investing in American-made products.
Along with over 85 other contract manufacturers, materials suppliers and service providers, was The Rodon Group, a subsidiary of K'NEX Brands LP, maker of construction toys and plastic injection molder that manufactures billions of parts for a diverse group of industries. The company has over 105 injection molding presses at its 125,000 sq-ft facility, and serves the consumer products, medical, construction, pharmaceutical and toy markets.
According to Michael Araten, president and CEO of K'NEX Brands and The Rodon Group, the company has manufactured more than 32 billion bricks, rods and connectors for K'NEX at its injection molding facility in Hatfield, PA. "We sell many of these toys at Walmart," he said. "So when the company (Walmart) announced its U.S. manufacturing commitment, we were thrilled - because we were aligned with a retailer that's acting on a cause we're passionate about."
Araten was personally invited by Walmart to speak at the Summit along with Jim Steven, CEO of Weber Grills. Walmart created a live webcast of the event.
When asked about how serious Walmart is about this recent drive to inventory more USA-made products, Araten commented to PlasticsToday, "Walmart is very sincere about their desire to meet the demand for good made in the USA. They have determined that consumers are looking for and prefer products that are made in America. They made many public comments at the Ssmmit that they would work with suppliers to help them handle both the scale and price points needed so that Walmart can meet its mission of saving money and living better."
Rodon has been on the forefront of American Manufacturing since the company was founded in 1956, and a few years ago began offering their "Cheaper than China" pricing policy and reshoring billions of manufactured parts back to the United States. According to Lowell Allen, executive vice president of manufacturing, recent expansion of Rodon's facility underscores the company's commitment to re-shoring parts for other companies. "We have invested a great deal to increase our manufacturing capacity, strengthening our position as a premier U.S. plastics manufacturer."